Synopses & Reviews
At 12 years old, Conall has already worked in the coal mines of West Virginia for two years. He spends his days deep underground with his faithful mule, Angel, carting loads of coal back and forth between the coal seams and the main shaft, where elevators take the coal up to the surface. One day a tunnel collapses, and his brother is trapped with others on the wrong side! How can Conall and Angel help to save them?Mixing archival images with his original artwork, in this historical fiction picture book acclaimed author and illustrator S. D. Nelson gives voice to the poverty, grueling labor, and dangerous conditions experienced by child laborers across our nation in the past, echoing conditions today, especially for migrant fieldworkers.
Praise for Digging a Hole to Heaven
andquot;Nelsonandrsquo;s acrylic-paint illustrations are gritty and realistic; more evocative still are the historical photographs that appear on nearly every page. A useful and thorough piece of work combining fiction and nonfiction, with an extensive authorandrsquo;s note detailing the history of coal mining.andquot;
andquot;The narrative comes alive with colorful descriptions, such as stout timbers that groan and a andldquo;massive mountain...forever leaning in upon itself.andrdquo; Beautiful textured paintings rendered in the style of 19th-century Plains Indian drawings, with acrylic on wood panels, accompany the narrative.andquot;
andquot;The vivid narrative is valuable in helping readers understand not just the facts but also the experiences of miners in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America.andquot;
andquot;The illustrations...are alive, historically accurate, expressive, and realistically rendered.andquot;
Award-winning author and illustrator S. D. Nelson reveals the grim realities of child labor in the coal mining industry in this unique picture book
Conall is only twelve years old, but he's already worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania for several years. He spends his days deep underground with his faithful mule, Angel, carting loads of coal from the coal seams to the main shaft. There, elevators take the coal up to the surface. One day a tunnel collapses, and his brother and other miners are trapped on the wrong side Will Conall and Angel be able to save them?
In this historical fiction, through the use of both archival images and his original artwork, acclaimed author and illustrator S. D. Nelson gives voice to the child laborers of our nation's past and to children today who face poverty, grueling labor, and dangerous work conditions. Backmatter includes a brief history of the Industrial Revolution, Robber Barons, and child labor laws.
About the Author
S. D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas. He is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous childrenandrsquo;s books. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.